Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sometimes things just suck

I know some of you read Fat Cyclist. If you don't, it's worth heading over there now.

It's hard to understand a range of emotions you can feel for someone you don't even really know, but learn more about every day. The few random blogs I read are my Access Hollywood; I'm more interested and involved in the goings-on of these people than the celebrities I'm told to care about.

It's times like these I remember I'm only a competent writer, not a good writer. If you want to read some good writing about this, go over to Up in Alaska and read Jill's latest post.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We have a non-loser!

Our race on Saturday went off with only a few minor hitches, but ultimately was a good time.

Surprisingly, we finished not last, despite only three people in the boat rowing more often than four times a year.

We finished 24 of 30. That includes beating a few alumni boats (which is essentially what we are, although we're not alumni of any one school), and some college "B" boats. It's always gratifying to race against colleges or other clubs, most of whom are rowing every day, and (while still getting beaten by many of them) hold our own.

The weather was cruddy as expected: lots of rain and wind. That wasn't much of an issue for any of us though. Now that most of us aren't really involved in the goings-on of various boat clubs, we can just show up, rig the boat, race, put the boat on the trailer and leave. Rowing and rain are only a pain when you have to stand around all day. From leaving the parked car to driving away, we were in Philly for less than three hours.

Also, as expected, this race didn't end with me beating my Schuylkill demons, but I managed to throw some holy water on them and keep them at bay.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More rowing

I'm back in another boat this weekend. This time it's an eight with some old friends at the Head of the Schuylkill in Philly. This is the third year running that I've been signed up for a race at the Schuylkill when it was expected to rain. In '06 and '07, the regatta was cancelled. We'll see if the trend continues.

Interestingly enough, the event is now two days long. I suspect it's so they can put the odds in their favor and get at least some races down the course on one of the two days. A third cancelled regatta might mean the end of the event altogether.

A little-known (and little-interesting) fact about me is that I've only ever had one good race in Philly, and that's with eight years of rowing competitively and a handful of years rowing half-assedly. Since I'm in what my friend Ed calls our "crap-bag" eight this weekend, I don't expect this to be the year where all my dreams of Schuylkill glory come to fruition. Note, I expect to have fun, it just won't be anything close to resembling a good race.

One of many bad races on the Schuylkill. Where are the other boats? Either way ahead of us or crashed into a bridge behind us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A (should-have-been-expected) blow to the ego

Sunday I confirmed that I no longer have the rowing fitness to hop in a boat with no practice and row two races in one day.

In the early afternoon, I rowed a 2- (that's one oar per person) with my friend Ian at the Head of the Passaic, a 2.5 mile race organized by my old rowing club. We finished in 19:55.

After a quick hamburger and re-rig of a boat, I was back in a 2x (two oars per person) with Ian for another go on the course. We finished that race in 19:53.

Normally, over that distance, rowers of equal ability should be minutes faster in a 2x compared to a 2- (and, since we were the same people in both, I assume we're equal).

At the end of the day, my shoulders were wiped out, my lower back was killing me, and my hands were ripped apart. It's probably likely that I haven't been fit enough to do two races a couple hours apart for years, but, since I haven't tried the double row for a few years, I could hold on the to dream that "I've still got it."

About the only things that were redeeming about both rows is that we beat our friends in the other 2- and I was recovered enough to do a MAP run test on Monday. So, I'm still fit. I'm just not rowing-fit. That's specificity for you.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Back at it

Sorry for the delay in posting, I was off doing stuff.

After doing that stuff, Hannah and I went up to the Adirondacks, which, despite being rainy almost the whole time, was a nice place to spend a week. It was full-on fall foliage, so even with the dreary sky, the scenery was great.

As a general rule, Hannah likes to go for nice, artsy shots.
Or, she takes pictures of me walking away.
I, on the other hand, had a burning desire to use the time-delay setting on the camera. A setting I clearly could not get a handle on. And the best attempt left me lobotomized.

There was one sunny day. Hannah got to bust out her new bike. And I got to ride very, very hard, while she effortlessly cruised farther and farther away on the climbs. I blame my old heavy road bike. And the hills. And my current (lack of) fitness. And that food-poisoning I got eight years ago.